A New Treatment For Lupus Symptoms

For over fifty years, those who suffered from Lupus Symptoms had limited treatment options. A new drug has recently been approved for use to combat the frustrating disease.

This is a disease that affects millions of people, mostly women, and is very difficult to treat. Most options now are pain relievers and anti-malarial drugs that suppress the immune system.

These can help cut the pain and swelling of flare-ups but do nothing to actually cure or control the sickness. The main benefit of the new drug is that it blocks a key protein responsible for the development of the cells that attack healthy ones.  This is a huge step forward for those that are stricken by the disease.

The new drug is called Benlysta and it is the first treatment that deals directly with the disease instead of merely relieving the symptoms. In this disease, the immune system acts like it is over-stimulated and produces a large number of a specific type of white blood cells.

These cells normally fight bacteria and viruses in healthy people, but are more active in those with this condition. In these cases, the white blood cells attack a range of healthy cells.

This causes arthritis like pain and swelling in the joints, fevers, rashes, sever fatigue, and problems with major organs. There is no cure for the disease and it lasts all life long.

The only options to manage Lupus Symptoms have side effects. Steroids, immune suppressing drugs, and drugs to slow antibodies are the only options for Lupus Treatment. This new discovery should offer more and better options for those who are seeking relief from this disease.

The drug is administered intravenously and should cut down on the number and severity of flare-ups. This means there will be less need for other drugs to manage the symptoms, but it is not a complete solution.

Early results from trials show a considerable reduction in the amount of other drugs that the test subjects needed. It is not a cure and it is not a perfect answer, but it is a step in the right direction.

There have been no other approved treatments since 1955, so it will be interesting how well patients respond.

There are some significant warnings that go along with this announcement. During the testing there were higher reports of infections, and even deaths, among the test subjects than there were in those who did not get the drug.

It also appears that using the medication will cost about $35,000 a year. This is a huge jump from the cost of the current treatment options.

There also appears to be an uneven distribution among those that will get the most benefit. Unfortunately, African-Americans, who are diagnosed with the disease most often, do not seem to benefit as much as others.

It appears that the drug is less effective the more it is used and it does not work as well against the most deadly forms of Lupus. Due to the drawbacks and the relatively recent development of this medication, some doctors may not prescribe it as an initial therapy.

It is not uncommon for new medications to undergo a period of evaluation before it is widely accepted. The good news is that there is now a new option, which is something that could not be said for a long time.

Lupus Symptoms – Butterfly Rash and Treatments

Lupus is a long-term chronic autoimmune disorder where the immune system is set in overdrive and begins to literally attack the body. It presents with a variety of different symptoms that can affect the joints, skin, brain, kidneys and other vital organs.

Lupus Symptoms vary between individual to individual. One of the most common symptoms is a skin rash that affects the face most commonly but can also appear on the scalp or other parts of the body.

Lupus Disease is also known as SLE, or systemic lupus erythematosus. The symptoms of this disease come and go due to the nature of the disease and most sufferers use treatments to alleviate these symptoms since there is no known cure.

The cause of lupus is yet unknown in the medical community but it is believed that it is related to genetics, the environment of the sufferer or a combination of the two. A couple of triggers in people susceptible to lupus can include certain medications and sunlight.

Since the cause, risk factors and cure are things that so far are virtually unknown, the best course of action is to reduce the inflammation and other symptoms caused by lupus. Lupus Rash is treated with various medications, topical creams and/or lifestyle changes respectively.

Butterfly Rash is the most common of the rashes found in lupus cases.

Skin rashes and inflammation is unavoidable in most chronic cutaneous lupus cases. These rashes can appear as round, disk shaped sores that present on the face and scalp in common cases.

Discoid lupus rashes are mostly thick, scaly and red but they usually do not hurt or itch.

This rash can leave scarring or discoloration of the skin behind. The lesions on the scalp can cause hair loss which can be permanent.

It helps to avoid the triggers of this subacute cutaneous lupus rash by staying out of the sun or cover your body when you are and try to avoid or prepare for fluorescent lights.

Malar Rash, another term for butterfly rash, occurs when the lupus is active. These lesions appear as flat, red skin patches that might look like sunburn or wind burn.

It looks like a butterfly, presenting across the nose bridge and on the cheeks which is why it is named after that. Scarring is not common with this rash.

While the face is the most common place this rash appears it can also show up on the legs, arms and other parts of the body.

Some treatments for these skin rashes include avoiding triggers, topical treatments, oral medications and some experimental treatments still being used in certain research and case studies. Some lupus sufferers also use natural supplements, creams, vitamins and foods that can decrease the symptoms of the rashes.

Preventative measures like avoiding triggers include avoiding or protecting your skin from the sun and any kind of artificial ultraviolet lighting. Sunscreens, long sleeves, hats, sunscreen and shady areas are recommended.

A few topical treatments can include calcineurin inhibitors and corticosteroid sprays, creams, lotions, foams, gels or other ointments and solutions.

Since lupus can range from mild to severe and the symptoms vary, treatments like sulfones, antimalarial drugs and short-term corticosteroids are used for mild to moderate Lupus Symptoms. Patients suffering with severe skin rashes from lupus can be treated with long-term corticosteriods, methotrexate, gold, thalidomide or other medications.

The severity and individual person determines the course of treatment.

Lupus Symptoms In Women

The job of your immune system is ordinarily to wander through your body looking for any signs of invading viruses or bacteria so that they can be stopped before they do serious harm. Sometimes, however, a person’s immune system will become confused and begin to perceive the tissues in her own body as potential invaders that need to be stopped.

One of the ways in which this can happen results in a disease formally known as systemic lupus erythematosus. Though it can potentially affect anyone, its symptoms usually appear in women.

Because it is an action of the patient’s own immune system, many of the symptoms of lupus disease are similar to those that people experience when they have a genuine infection. This includes developing a fever, having aching joints, and feeling persistently fatigued.

These are only signs of this disease, however, when they occur for no readily apparent reason. It is perfectly normal and absolutely no cause for panic when a person feels this way during a flu epidemic.

On the other hand, a person who shows symptoms of an infection regularly without it clearly being tied to an actual infection should definitely talk to a doctor.

There are other lupus symptoms that are more specific to this particular illness. One especially notable one is a characteristic lupus rash that patients often develop.

It appears on the face centered on the nose and moving down onto each cheek. Because of its distinctive shape, it is frequently referred to as a Butterfly Rash.

It is also not uncommon for people to develop rashes in other areas of their body, and for these rashes to occur or worsen in areas of skin that have been exposed to sunlight.

There are other symptoms of lupus which may occur in some patients and are more varied in nature. For example, some people experience hair loss or changes in their fingernails.

Others develop painful sores around their mouth and nose. It is not uncommon to become generally sensitive to sunlight, though for some people with the disease this is also related to the effects of the medications used to control their disease rather than due to the illness itself.

Finally, some people experience swelling and fluid retention around their ankles, or pain when they attempt to breathe in deeply.

Lupus Symptoms overlap heavily with many other diseases, and this makes it exceptionally difficult to diagnose. In its early stages, due to the aches, fever, and fatigue, it can often be mistaken for chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis.

On the other end of the spectrum, people can also easily mistake it for harmless passing infections. If symptoms persist, though, and rest and fluids do not clear them up, it is very important to see a physician.

The obvious symptoms of this disease are generally more uncomfortable than harmful, but it also has internal effects as well. Left untreated, it can do significant damage to critical organs like the kidneys.

The right treatment, however, can allow a person to live much more normally and comfortably, even though the illness can not be completely cured.

Lupus Symptoms – Fatigue

Lupus Disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks its own healthy organs and tissues as well as joints, skin and other body parts. There are four primary types of lupus: neonatal lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus and systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE which is the most common and most serious.

It is estimated that upwards of one million people in the USA have SLE, and about 90 percent of them happen to be female.

Neonatal lupus erythematosus is the appearance of SLE symptoms in a newborn from a mother with SLE. At birth there are no skin lesions, but these develop in the first few weeks of life. This lupus type is generally benign and self-limiting.

Drug-induced lupus is caused by regular use of certain drugs. There are 38 known medications that may cause this type of lupus. After the drugs are discontinued, the symptoms recede.

Discoid lupus is a skin condition where red inflamed lesions form mainly on the face, nose, ears and scalp. The Grammy Award winning musician Seal has discoid lupus erythematosus.

As mentioned, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common form, so it will be discussed in more depth.

Profound fatigue is one of the main Lupus Symptoms. Lupus specialist Dr. Thomas Grader-Beck, a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine assistant professor states that there is no specific therapy or drug for fatigue related to lupus.

There is also a problem diagnosing the fatigue. Is it lupus related or due to something else?  Fatigue can be caused by hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, anemia, heart disease, depression, fibromyalgia and other disorders.

Up to 80 percent of lupus patients experience severe fatigue, and other common symptoms include fever, joint pain, malaise and temporary loss of the cognitive abilities.

The symptom of cognitive dysfunction directly impacts the fatigue symptom so that the body is continuously enduring a never ending cycle of confusion followed by exhaustion caused by confusion caused by exhaustion over and over again.  Again diagnosis is difficult.

Extreme fatigue can have destructive effects on patients with lupus. There is ongoing research that is trying to learn even more about treating the fatigue problem.

Lack of biomarkers means that there is no way researchers can measure fatigue. Much of the research is in attempting to quantify fatigue so doctors can measure how well treatments are working.

Until that happens, certain lifestyle changes can help fatigued patients cope with the exhaustion. Getting adequate rest is sometimes easier said than done.

The persistent fatigue of lupus is different from normal tiredness we all experience from time to time. Sometimes you just need to slow down and take naps or breaks during the day as needed.

Fatigue and other Lupus Symptoms may also be helped by healthy self-care which includes regular exercise and a healthy diet. Joining a support group can also help.

When a group of people share what did and did not work to help relieve the symptoms of lupus, you will be able to get useful advice to help yourself.

Remember each case of lupus is different in some respects for each individual. What works for one may not work for another.

One observation of lupus fatigue patients revealed low levels of vitamin D, so vitamin D supplements may be prescribed.

SLE has no cure at the present time, so the goal of treatment is to keep symptoms under control. A healthy lifestyle will keep your body strong so that it can better deal with any lupus-related conditions that may come up.